Sunday, 3 March 2013

Regency Rakes ~ The Merridew Sisters Book 1 Review

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters #1)
By Anne Gracie

Rating: 4.3

It's almost ingrained in us women to love books such as these.

Books with balls overflowing with music and dancing, pretty gowns, dashing men and the inevitable trading of barbed witty banter...they are simply irresistible

But Anne Gracie takes it a step further, presenting readers with a refreshing combination of Regency etiquette and discourse, and 21st century audacity and feminine spirit! 

Prudence (correctly re-named 'Imprudence' by our resident rogue and rake Gideon) has taken care of her four sisters ever since the untimely death of their parents. 

Under the iron fist of their temper-driven and vile grandfather, the girls endure beatings, enraged cursing and the bleak understanding that their situation is bound to keep its horrible, cyclical nature for some time to come. Relying on one another, the girls listen to Prudence's tales of their parents - whose love for one another fosters a longing in the girls to find a love like that. 

Pure. All-encompassing. Enduring.

When ten year old Grace is beaten in a rage, Prudence cannot remain silent any longer. Whilst their grandfather recovers from a slight injury, the girls pack their things and Prudence forges a letter from their grandfather to his younger brother, their Great-uncle Oswald, asking him to take on the girls. 

Prudence hopes that fleeing for London will mean a second chance - to put a glow in her sisters' cheeks, to enter society and to find one of them a husband to protect them and save them from their grandfather's wrath when he discovers their escape.

But oh the web we weave when we begin to deceive! 

Prudence's well meant lies to Great-uncle Oswald backfire most spectacularly. Not daring to admit that she is already betrothed secretly to Phillip Otterbury - who has been gone the past four years with barely a word - Prudence has to find a reason for her Great-uncle not finding her a match. 

So she lies; stating that she is betrothed to the Duke of Dinstable. 

The Duke is known for being practically a hermit, never leaving Scotland ever. Prudence thinks it a fantastic cover...until her Great-uncle informs her that the Duke has left Scotland and is in London at the present time!

Taking herself over to the Duke's, Prudence hopes to explain the entire situation. 

The Duke - very handsome and very devilish - is amused by her situation and agrees to go along with the lie when her Great-uncle confronts him. But upon confrontation, a twist is revealed. 

The Duke is not really the Duke! 

No; he is Lord Gideon Carradice, the Duke's incorrigible rake of a cousin. Prudence is attracted to the insufferable man quite against her will, and Lord Carradice finds Prudence's presence addictive - she affects him like no other. Determined to resist her, he agrees to 'break' their betrothal.

But he can't get her - and her blasted reticule, with its bruising abilities - out of his mind. Consulting his cousin, the real Duke, he decides to further his acquaintance with Prudence. However, she is not an easy woman to woo. 

Stubborn, fiery and fiercely protective of her sisters, it is fair to say that Lord Carradice has met his match!

Full of romance, blinding wit, tea, brandy, reticules, smelling salts and misdirected bullets, this novel is sure to have its readers hanging on for dear life. 

As Prudence takes on London and discovers how, exactly, a rake can fall in love.

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